What is it?
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that is found in Japan during the winter months. It is about the size of a tangerine and has bumpy, thick yellow skin. It is a sour citrus that is not eaten as a fruit, but widely used in Japanese cooking to flavour dishes.
How can it be eaten?
Yuzu fruit does not contain much juice and is mainly prized for its highly fragrant zest. The juice can be used in a similar manner to lemon and lime. However yuzu juice has a more intense flavour and therefore a little goes a long way.
The yuzu peel is used both as a garnish and to flavour dishes. It can be added to salad dressings, soups, simmered dishes, pickles, cooked vegetables, noodles and fish dishes. The fruit can also be made into ice-cream, jam, jellies, cocktails and yuzu-cha, which is a Korean herbal cold and flu remedy. Yuzu is also an essential ingredient in the citrus-based sauce, ponzu and yuzu koshō, a spicy Japanese sauce.
In Japan, a hot yuzu bath, commonly known as yuzu-yu, is traditionally taken on the winter solstice. The bath is prepared by adding yuzu juice and large pieces of yuzu peel to the hot bath water. This helps to release a pleasant aroma from the yuzu fruit. In Japan, onsens (hot springs) that specialise in yuzu baths float whole yuzu fruits in the hot water. The yuzu-yu is believed to guard against winter colds, condition the skin, warm the body and relax the mind.